Ah, 2017. If 2016 hadn’t been enough of a kick in the nuts globally, then 2017 is ensuring that you continue to expect the worst at every available opportunity. In this era of fake news and alt-right nonsense, I am pleased to see that some crop circle research is still stuck in the early 1990’s, when the world was a much more wonderful place. In his newly constructed blog, Gary King (not his real name, but that’s another story) is enjoying the naivety that only 1990s crop circle “research” could bring. What has currently got Gary agitated is a piece Andrew Pyrka wrote about the Antsy crop circle. Now, I’m not that interested in the back and forth between the two of them, but some of the assumptions in Gary’s piece are spectacularly off target. In fact Gary is clinging to a lot of the assumptions of 1990’s crop circle research as if they have some validity.
Whilst Gary makes a few interesting points, he goes back to the old chestnut of “what it would actually take for people to be going out and making the crop circles”. Gary asks that we “step back and consider what it would take to have faked the 7000+ that have appeared in the last 35+ years”. Well, Gary starts of by showing this is back of a fag packet theorising when he states that no-one knows how many people are involved in many crop circles but he seems to pluck some figures out of thin air. He claims “it is said” there are more than 10 of these teams. Evidence please, Gary? Who said that? Then he goes on to say it is “reasonable to speculate” that more than 100 people are involved. So we’re averaging ten people a team are we? Whilst Gary isn’t keen for others to speculate on the more earthly origins of crop circles, Gary is speculating like crazy in this article.
Gary then states that these 100 or so people need to be financially independent. That they don’t have regular jobs, they work for free and fund themselves through the crop circle season. Of course Gary doesn’t seem to have noticed that a fair chunk of crop circles in the last few years seem to appear on a Friday or Saturday night. Perfect, for your average 9 to 5 hero. Of course, I know of several circle makers who work shifts and make circles when they can. Gary seems not to have considered the occasional crop circle tourist who travels with some friends to Wiltshire for a week or two, soaks up the atmosphere and the ancient sites, and make a few circles before popping off home.
Gary continues to speculate wildly with his claims that crop circle are difficult to make. He points out that several appear night after night. Well there are a couple of teams working the fields, Gary. There are teams that do it for just a few seasons. There are people who drift between teams. There are people who get a phone call from someone asking if they can lend a hand with a big circle. There used to be a guy who worked behind the bar of a certain famous pub in crop circle land who would routinely help out if a team was short of people. The trouble is, if you keep yourself locked in that echo chamber all you will ever hear is the sound of yourself and other like you, and some researchers need to start talking to some different people.
Then Gary starts making some amazing leaps of reasoning, “But if we are to accept they are all man-made, then we have to accept that the people involved would have to posses (sic) an extremely high level of knowledge with regards to land surveying, mathematics and design”. Most people did Geometry in O Level/GCSE maths. It’s not that hard. Sacred Geometry? Well, it’s still geometry isn’t it? Gary falls into the trap of assuming people are incapable of making geometric designs and flattening crops in that design. Gary can see with his own eyes the fantastic geometry involved in sand art, but can’t make the leap to people doing that in a field of crop. Gary uses the old chestnut of how long it would take to make the Galaxy formation at Milk Hill. But again, Gary has no facts to base his assumptions on. He has no idea how many people were involved, a factor which would obviously skew his calculations.
As his article trundles on, Gary starts to pull even more baseless assumptions out of thin air. Gary claims that this “100 people operation” aren’t the same people who started the “crop circle campaign” over thirty years ago, and then starts to muse about the “attrition rate” for crop circle makers, and theorises that your average crop circle maker has a career span of around 10 years, which means (in Gary’s head) that in total around 300 people have been making crop circles. (Really? Are we now discussing the churn rate for circle makers?) Gary takes this one stage further and says that it isn’t unreasonable to suspect that number might be as high as 500. For someone who moans about a lack of evidence, he seems to lack a lot of this rare commodity himself. Gary then makes the statement that “none of whom [circlemakers that is] have ever stepped forward to demonstrate how they actually do it”. Wrong, Gary. Oh so wrong.
Gary then goes on to have a pop at Colin Andrews and Andrew Pyrka and their claims (about the Antsy formation and other connected issues), which Gary bemoans for having a lack of evidence. Which is ironic, considering that Gary has made a raft of claims for which he has no evidence.
It’s this stalemate between the different camps that really interests me at the moment. The pro-ET camp claim that the lack of evidence of human involvement points to something paranormal and alien-based. Those on the other side of the divide who claim it’s not aliens but people, can’t provide enough convincing evidence to the contrary to satisfy the pro-ET camp. (Of course, there are those who just enjoy the circles for what they are and draw their own conclusions, which is probably the best camp to be in.) The reality is that no-one can claim all crop circles were man-made, just as no-one can claim they were all made by ETs. The whole situation is much more nuanced than that. A lot of weird stuff certainly appears to occur in and around crop circles, irrespective of who makes them, and that makes for some fascinating reading. I think the far more interesting questions come not from who made them, but the question of why they made them. For me, that is the real bigger picture. The reductionist argument of man-made vs ET totally misses the point. If last year taught us anything, it taught us that there are no real certainties, so a reductionist argument based on certain assumptions is certainly not the way forward in 2017.
Gary’s article can be found here
Andrew’s article can be found here